Leadership 2020 – Reflections & Goals

As I bow my head to reflect on 2020 as a warrior and leader at my workplace, I get reminded that the first step towards a positive change in my team and workplace starts with me.

I ponder on the decisions I have made, the guidance I have given, the inspirations that I tried to provide, as well as the improvements I need to make to be a better leader.

I learn from being led, as well as those who have proven to be true leaders in their own rights.

It will be constant journey of learning when you are looked upon as a leader. It is not so much about the title but the responsibilities that comes with it.

For those whom I have the pleasure to work with, I wish that my leadership will:

1. Ensure that they are on a path of growth
2. Ensure that their strengths are built upon
3. To help them identify areas of weakness and to help them improve from it
4. Build up their character and sense of responsibility, so that no where they go, they will be an individual with real value

My role as a leader is also to help them refine their work processes and to eliminate unproductive workload, so that every minute that they spent at work will result in something of value.

From the lessons of my poor leaders in the past, I learn not to bog my team down with useless frivolities, eg. pointless reports with no clear reasons for, as well as how a poor emotional control may have an negative impact on the team. That is why I treasure all leaders, good and bad.

As I grow and upgrade myself in my journey of leading, I always remind myself of these two things – (1) humility, (2) integrity.

No man will be left behind or be left to fend for themselves. They are my responsibilities. I will always be their shield (only for genuine team members) to protect them, so that they can stand up to fight another day, as well as their sword to tackle the battles at work. This is why integrity is so important. It builds trust with my team.

I will never be a perfect leader but I will always strive to be a human being who will be swift to understand and emphatize, to genuinely help them conquer their battles and to grow.

An uplifting account with Murphy’s Law

Just wanna pen down the thoughts that ran through my head, and the emotions that accompanied them this afternoon, so that it can seek to be a good reminder to myself in the near future, and hopefully, it would be able to encourage others who may be dealing with a similar situation.

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

It is easy to encourage others when you are not the one in a situation. But here I am, in one such situation. I decided not to waste this experience or the thoughts and emotions, so the best way to capture them is through this post.

Thankfully, whatever that I am experiencing is in the area of work. Having said that, I take a lot pride in my work and put in a lot of effort into them. Sometimes, bending towards the unhealthy side of it, eg. replying email on the wee hours of the morning.

The point is not to tell you how hardworking I am. Rather it is to show you that, even though whatever that I am going through has to do with work, it means a lot to me too.

Briefly, the issues that brought me to feel like I am stuck in Murphy’s Law can be summed up in the points below:

  1. Almost at the end point of a major win (amicable closure), only to have a rep share that their group decided to take another stance
  2. Almost at the point of signing a deal based on terms agreed prior (with a prospect that we have been following up for quite a while) but due to unfortunate event, ie. Covid19, a re-negotiation was requested
  3. Due to Covid-19, a lot of operational issues were affected, as works were delayed due to the phased restart

It is frustrating and disappointing and these emotions are totally understandable. All the team’s hard work stood at the precipice of “failure”.

As I was driving back this evening, I reminded myself the following and I felt better immediately:

  • Is the situation I am in within my control or influence?
    I have to be honest here. Situations are not always a result of our choices. When it is not within our control, there is basically nothing much we can do to change it significantly. However, if we can still influence it, that would be helpful. If we can’t, then it is usually futile to be too bogged down emotionally and mentally by it. We should move on to the next few steps.
  • Adjust my expectations
    I should not expect perfections, despite one’s meticulous and thorough considerations. Expectations are useful guides towards an ideal outcome but it should never be the determinant of success.
  • Take stock of the situation
    It is important to review the new situation and honestly highlight the areas that are problematic. It is also equally important to look for areas that may still be favourable, so that we can pivot and build from them.
  • Look for viable alternatives
    As with all sound management techniques, it is never about running a perfect machine. The machine will never be perfect but we have to go through rounds and rounds of improvement to perfect it. Thus, in such situations, we have to take a step back, having identified key areas of problems and areas that are favourable, and proactively and creatively find new strategies to overcome the current situation.
  • Be prepared to manage the worst
    Despite our best efforts, sometimes things just do not work out the way it should or how we hoped for. And even then, we should not be defeated because, with all honesty and efforts, we did what we could. It is what it is. We just have to manage the outcomes as best as we can, and continue to give our best.

At the end of the day, I reminded myself that we did all that we could previously, and things will not always be smooth. We should embrace challenges because there is no ways around it, just like the world or even ourselves will never perfect.

We cannot and should allow ourselves to be defeated because in doing so, we are disabling ourselves, not giving ourselves a chance to change the course out of the situation, thus, allowing a self-prophecy to play out – failure.